Is He Going to Marry Her? Read the Signs Correctly

Dear Veronica,

I enjoy reading your hubs as I think you give really balanced advice, so this is why I'm writing to you. My boyfriend and I have been together 6 years. We purchased a house and moved in together three months ago. I've expressed to him a few times during the course of our relationship how I'd like to get married. He's told me how he thinks marriage is just a piece of paper, but if marriage is what I want then he's okay with being married. However, we’ll go to weddings and he’ll make comments like “I want this at my wedding” or “I don’t want to get married at a church.” I’m confused as to why he’ll make these statements if he truly believes marriage is just a piece of paper.

When we started to look for a house, I brought up the t opic of marriage again, since I wanted to make sure we’re on the same page. He gave me the same answer as he did last time. We discussed a timeline. I said how about this summer, and he said next summer.

A few months ago, I said to him in a jokingly tone "Guess I'm not getting my ring this year." He told me he's not financially ready to purchase a ring. We bought new carpeting, a refrigerator, water heater, furniture, and he also contributes to child support each month. He explained how he wanted to finish paying off the carpet, fridge, and his car by certain month. I commend him for doing this, but I don't find it necessary. His car does not HAVE to be finished paying off until next year. I suggested we put money into our joint account to help us save money for a wedding, even my ring. He replied with how we need to save money for our mortgage and other expenses next summer (we’re both teachers, so we do not get paid during the summer), and any extra money can be used for wedding expenses.

I truly love my boyfriend, and I think the relationship is great (even better in my eyes, since we’ve moved in together). A part of me thinks he’s content with just going about the relationship as it is and not getting married (especially since I bring up the topic of marriage, and he does not). Do you think he wants to get married, or is he just stringing me along? What should I do in this year if he says again that he’s still not financially ready? Thank you for your advice!!

-Lauren

I have said in many Hubs on and around this topic that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes those actions include the things he says outside of the specific conversation, and aside from answering your questions.

You said that he tells you he will get married if that's what you want, and that it isn't something he really believes in. I can see how you'd be thinking - Not a great answer, but it opens a door to getting married, it's just not the way I'd hoped that door would open. I wouldn't have interpreted it in that way, but I will come back to that.

His actions however speak much louder. Not saving, not putting money into the joint account, coming up with other things like paying off a car 6 months early - these are very clear signs that everything and anything comes before getting engaged, let alone getting married. His actions are saying no. No no no. Very clearly and loudly.

What's more disturbing about this is that his answers have that "final say" tone to them.

He's not acting like a partner at all. He's not saying for example: I am thinking next summer, you're thinking this summer, can we compromise and get engaged around December?

- Or - I'm concerned about money, can we talk about how we both feel about finances? Can we make a plan together as a team to pay debts, earn money, save and spend on a wedding?

- Or - Is there any way you'd be OK with a temporary ring with a CZ or something that we can replace with a real diamond in 2 years? That way we're both working toward the same goal.

He's not sharing what he thinks and feels in an effort to find a compromise or to work together. He's saying things in that final say tone. He's saying, what you want doesn't matter. He's saying, "No."

As if that weren't all bad enough, here is another big thing that I'm seeing here. He's made comments about "his" wedding. You said that he has made comments like, "I don't want to get married in a church," or "I want this at my wedding."

The fact that he's not saying "we" when he makes these comments is the loudest thing he could be saying to you. He's not asking you to participate in those conversations, is he. He isn't inviting communication. He isn't saying, "I don't want to get married in a church, do you? When we get married will you want to be married in a church?"

Maybe you've tried to jump in to those moments by offering how you feel and what you think and want. But that doesn't mean he was engaging you. I am even willing to speculate that if you have jumped onboard in his statements about his wedding, that he's been dismissive or opposing. If he says, "I don't want to get married in a church," and you add that you agree, you don't want that either, he's not engaging at that moment saying, "That's so great, we agree on that! That will be one thing that will be easy when we plan our wedding." I am guessing that even if you agree, he keeps speaking about "me" and "I" and only what he wants, with no inclusion of you, or that he drops the subject.

Ok, now, let me back up. I interpret what he initially said differently than you did. He said he doesn't believe in marriage but if it's something you want he'd go through with it. I don't see that the way you do as a possibility or compromise. I see it as his way of trying to make you be the bad guy. He's trying to get you relinquish your desire to marry, while still being able to say he was willing to go through with it.

Since he's making comments about "his" wedding, he's not someone that doesn't see marriage in his future. The question is, is he really not ready, or is it that he doesn't want to marry you.

The answer to that is revealed in his actions.

Even he wasn't ready to get married now, he's still making comments about "his" wedding. He's able to think about that future time.

However he's not showing you any action regarding working you into "his" wedding.

You did say you think he's content with things as they are, and would stay with things the way they are.

This is where the problem really is. So many guys are like that. They don't want to rock the boat, they will just go along with things as they are, and hope you will be the one that initiates the big change. That way they never have to be the bad guy. For some reason, they think the woman will get the hint. They think, when she gets unhappy enough, she'll go. And if she doesn't, so be it. But that doesn't change the very real fact that he told you straight that marrying you is not something he wants, it just may be something he's willing to endure. And it doesn't change the fact that he does nothing to create any kind of compromise, plan or future involving marrying you.

I can't tell from what you've shared, but I'm wondering if the way he is now is a change. You said you had conversations about your timeline and all prior to buying the house. You haven't shared your ages, but I'm wondering if he crossed into his Saturn Return after the house was purchased. It usually happens around the age of 28, and I have discussed it on many hubs. It could be that he thought he was OK on your timeline and agreed to things, and then after the purchase at some point, he came of age. He hit 27, 28, maybe 29. He saw the future in a new way, he lost his sense of what he thought he wanted. That's what happens. Everything changes.

If that isn't it, if he was past 29 when you two began these plans, then I have to wonder if those agreements and conversations really went the way you think they did. Was he really in agreement with your lifeplan, or was he saying things like he's saying now, but you heard what you wanted to hear.

In any case, the reality of your situation is that he's not making any plans, compromises, or indications towards marrying you. And he doesn't want to communicate honestly about that. Maybe he thinks putting it off will make it go away. Maybe he thinks eventually you'll get the hint. I don't know. But it's time you start thinking about what you want, and doing what you need to do to make that happen. good luck.

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28 comments

Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Great article, Veronica. I really enjoy your analysis -- especially as pertains to him not wanting to be the bad guy. I'd also would have thought his actions and words were very confusing as he seems to acknowledge and understand her desire to get married (and even agrees to do it, even if reluctantly) but then his actions don't gel with that. I think this is a very common situation and why so many women get so confused -- who wouldn't want to believe in what they're bf is telling them (especially when it's what they want)? To me, this is dangerously close to deception. I'm not sure if it's intentional or not or he's just deceiving himself as well, but man do I hate the guys avoiding things to not be the "bad guy" as you describe. The sad part is this is what ultimately makes them a bad guy--this avoidance that ends up in stringing their gf along. Excellent advice! and I hope Lauren figures it out because that's a hard place to be in.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Lindsey79. you really hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. A person isn't the "bad guy" for not wanting to get married, certainly for not wanting to get married young, and definitely for not wanting to get married without being sure about many things, like if they are really ready, and if this person is the one. But what makes someone see them as "the bad guy" is the stringing along. The guy that avoids the conversation or misleads the partner, or even lies about intentions they really don't plan to pursue - that's the "bad guy."

The problem is, I think many of those "bad guys" really weren't poorly intended. They simply didn't know. They were being as honest as they can be without getting berated, or maybe they are moving along at their own pace and thinking it'll be good enough.

That creates a real problem: you have a partner that hears what they want to hear, or a partner that has decided everyone should want exactly what they want in their life ie: marriage, kids, etc, and they project it onto others, and really can't see that their way isn't THE way. They don't acknowledge that someone else might want something completely different.

Some situations have special nuances, and all situations are actually unique. Ages, families, careers, kids, actions, many things have to be factored in, and the tells one gives in their emails are the real key to what's going on with them. But I'd say that the best advice I can offer in a good deal of these situations is to that partner, not to the supposed bad guy. LISTEN to what is actually being said, look at what is actually being done. If you are the only one that is pushing pushing pushing for the future you want, get the hint. Seriously, do you really want to marry someone you had to pressure and push and talk into it? Do you really think that's a marriage that's going to work?

xo


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Veronica -- I totally agree with you. I guess in my circle of friends and family, I know very few where the woman wasn't the driving force on having to a make the "shit or get off the pot" decision. And these weren't young guys -- all in their late 20s to early 30s. Perhaps the West Coast just does things more slowly than other areas of the country or guys just get stuck in the Peter Pan phase more commonly and for longer out here.

Literally among 15-20 marriages I know (including my 2 brothers and 1 sister), only 1 where it seemed that the guy took the lead. That's my best friend and her now husband was talking marriage to her at 23 and they got married at 26 -- the youngest of everyone I know. All the others the woman was forcing the issue, sometimes in more gentle conversations to see if they were on the same page, sometimes more forcefully but it always seemed that the guys were just coming around more slowly or full on dragging their heels. One guy friend didn't even really propose. His now mother-in-law essentially planned a wedding and told him when it was and that's how they got "engaged". Seems ludicrous to me but that's how it was...I really hope my experience isn't representative of most couples, but I fear it is closer to it than I wish it were.

Like I said, I don't know if guys are just more wishy washy out here or what -- among friends/family in the midwest, it seems to be a very different landscape. Folks seem to be marrying younger or breaking things off sooner, but not as many of these 5-6+ year relationships that go into the late 20s or early 30s. That sort of thing seems to be frowned upon from a cultural standpoint. I don't know if it's the women that don't tolerate it and move on or if the guys just cut it off earlier and continue to date or be single, but whatever it is, you don't seem to see nearly as many of these multiple year relationships without marriage clearly on the horizon.

So although I'd like to agree with you that marriages where the woman pressured the man into making a decision don't work, that just hasn't been my experience yet. I think in an ideal world, that approach is spot on. I just haven't seen it work out that way in my life. Shoot, even with my parents, my Mom had to force the issue for my Dad to make a decision and they were married 35+ years. As for the marriages of my contemporaries, so far they're all still married, though it's been only 3-10 years for most. But my experience has shown that the female that does force the issue does result in marriages that work (at least thus far). Some of us (myself included), it meant the relationship ended and we parted ways, but most it resulted in marriage.

Perhaps we're just talking nuances that I'm not appreciating fully. Because I thought you somewhat forced the issue with your now husband as well. You definitely both talked about the future generally, but it was you that had to give the "it's been a year of living together and I told you I didn't want to be an eternal live-in gf for more than a year, so I guess we're on different pages" discussion, no? For most of my friends, it was that sort of discussion, which I put in the pushing category of gentle conversations. Had you not had that talk with your husband after which he proposed 4 days later, how long do you think you'd have had to wait around for him to come to the idea himself? I guess I just don't know if you consider that pushing or just being true to yourself -- it seems difficult to know where the line between those two falls.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Hi Lindsey79,

I wouldn't say the guys that don't want to get married, or don't know if they want to get married are wishy washy. I would call them smart. I would say the opposite of what you're saying: the guys who caved when their woman forced the issue are the wishy washy ones, and I would speculate on how happy any of those marriages are, if they are still together.

I wouldn't have waited around for my husband to propose. I completely did not force the issue, wow do you have my situation completely wrong.

Prior to his moving in we had agreed we both wanted to get married. I didn't force that, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, it was definitely what we both wanted and planned. We set a time frame. I said one year, I didn't want to be an eternal girlfriend, I wanted to get married, and he was completely in agreement, that's what he wanted too. And he was the first one to bring up the marriage talks when we were dating, not me.

When the time frame came and went, I said exactly what you quoted, "We had an agreement, we had a plan, maybe you've changed your mind and we're on different pages." If he had changed his mind, I would never ever have pushed and nagged and reminded and waited and been pissed that he changed his mind. I would never have waited and forced the issue. I would have moved on. What happened was, he was planning a holiday proposal to me, but his older brother had just popped the question to his gf, and my husband just wanted to wait and give them some time to be in the spotlight. That was all. He had never changed his mind. He was just dragging his feet and NOT because he wasn't sure, he was just trying to be respectful to his older brother.

Even the conversation that prompted my saying to him that our time frame has just passed, was his saying to me how by the end of the year when we're doing taxes, we'll be married and filing joint. The entire quoted conversation you were referring to came from his TELLING me we would still be married by the end of the tax season. It was not at all as if he wasn't sure, was changing his mind, or anything. He was filing taxes in his head as married.

You said, for most of your friends it was that sort of discussion. You mean, most of these couples agreed with each other on marriage, and an exact time frame prior to moving in? I really have a hard time believing that. A guy saying, "Maybe. Someday. I don't know. Yeah sure. OK, if that's what you want. Whatever-" is definitely not anything like the conversation I had that you're comparing most of your friends to. Sharing the same exact goals, and plans, and wanting the same thing, at the same time, and setting a definite time frame before they even move in together is so uncommon that I really have a hard time believing that most of your friends did that, and then wound up with a guy that had changed his mind or changed his plan, or didn't feel sure about all the things they'd discussed.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Oh, to answer your question, when do I think he would have proposed had I not said what I said, - it would definitely have been in the next 6 months since he was already stating how he was filing his taxes for that year as married.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

I don't think it was likely common that many had a real firm plan in the very beginning like you did -- I didn't mean to imply that. And sorry if I got your story wrong -- thanks for the extra information -- that definitely changes my take on things.

I definitely know some of them agreed to only move in as a step towards marriage, but I wouldn't say all of them. I think the general trend was that they spoke in the abstract about their goals, wanting to get married, have kids, etc. (to make sure that at least all wanted the same general stuff), but it was the woman that ended up having to really dial down on a specific timeline. He was thinking 5 years (or hadn't even thought about a timeline at all) and she was thinking 2 years. Then they figured out a mutually agreeable range, but it almost always seemed to be the woman that was forcing this discussion. Sometimes this was a negotiation prior to moving in, sometimes it had nothing to do with moving in, but just got to a certain point in the relationship where the woman needed to know if there was a real future in the relationship or not. With the one exception of that one friend, I'd never come across a guy that was thinking 2 years while his gf was thinking 5 so he was the one that had to really drive the conversation and figure out if they could meet in the middle.

I guess the difference I see now is that when you guys moved in together, it seemed to be a very mutual decision and you were just holding him to it. Whereas, in what I've seen, I'd like to think that it ends up being a mutual decision, but it has been the woman that had to initiate the discussion and force the issue (with that one friend exception I noted) to get to a point of mutual agreement. And I think many of them did what you're husband ultimately did -- propose before the end of that mutually agreed upon time. But if the woman hadn't really initiated that discussion (what I was interpreting as "forcing the issue"), a proposal may never have happened, or at least not as soon as it did.

It seemed to be the woman's initiation of this discussion that forces the guys to really think about what they want --- do they want to get married, do they want to marry her and if so, when. And I'm assuming a lot of this is driven probably by the kid factor -- that a woman in her late 20s or early 30s knows her window for having babies is getting smaller so she has to get this figured out one way or the other. If women had the same fertility that guys had, I'd imagine a low fewer women would be initiating these discussion and forcing the issue. That they'd just be cruising along and not being as timeline focused either. It certainly didn't seem like a lot of the guys were doing this on their own and many may have not gotten around to it for several more years if their gf didn't force the issue by initiating the discussion. Does that make sense?

And I guess I'm just still having a hard time differentiating between when you're initiating a discussion and coming to a mutually agreed upon timeline and forcing the issue. The line between those two seems to blur for me.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Hi Lindsey,

I do enjoy you, just wanted to say that.

The husband and I did agree, and had a plan, and were talking and mutual and set a definite time frame. But, no, I wasn't "holding" him to it. If he had changed his mind, or was no longer sure, I would have respected that. I would not have held him to anything. Marriage is a huge decision and if he wasn't 100% and aggressively pursuing me to marry him, I would have moved on.

But yes, we were 100% in agreement that we wanted to be married, and where we wanted to live, and that we did not want children, and how money should be handled, and all of the things that real married couples have to deal with and decide upon together.

I wrote on one of these hubs that I believe you can help focus your partner into a timeline, or you can dialogue and listen and help him figure out what he wants. But the way you're wording it, it sounds more agenda driven. It doesn't sound like the woman is trying to help her partner think about what he wants. It sounds like she is trying to make him want what she wants.

Here's an example. If he says, I wonder if I should go back to school, that means - I have a dream, I have an idea of a future, and it is not time to think about marriage. In the way I'm wording those discussions, I'm saying that if he says that, a good partner that actually loves him will encourage him to follow his dream. She wouldn't say well what about kids, because that's not something he's mentioning. It's just something she wants, so she's not listening to him, not encouraging him, not helping him figure out what he wants. She's just trying to make him do what she wants.

I agree, that baby making thing drives women to be in a huge rush. I think it's also a driving reason why women want to get married, instead of wanting to actually find the right life partner.

I know a lot of unhappy couples. Besides the hundreds of emails I've gotten from strangers, I mean in real life I know many more unhappy couples, than happy ones. I'm trying to think if I know any married couple with kids that's actually happy. Many of the ones I know are already divorced, and some of the ones I know that are still married, are absolutely miserable. The reality of having kids is not at all what many people expected. Combine that with the idea that the guy was not perusing this path, or was forced into making a decision he clearly was not ready to make, and you have a disaster.

I would think the desire to have children would make women want to create the best possible scenario for doing it. I can't figure out why forcing someone to decide what they want to do with the next 40 years of their life, makes sense to them as a good way to go about things.

The line that's blurred for you, isn't for me. Meeting a guy, getting to know him, listening to what he wants and sharing what you want over a certain amount of time should be clear enough as to if you are on the same path. If one person is saying "I want to get married," and the other person is saying, "I do too! Absolutely. Definitely." then it's all good. If one person is saying, "I want to get married," and is the only one ever bringing up, and the other person is avoiding it, saying things like, "Someday, yeah." that is crystal clear to me that these two people are not on the same page.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

I didn't express the whole "holding him to it" very well. I didn't mean that you were forcing him to abide by it but if things had changed, you were planning on moving on, not renegotiating and trying to get back on the same page. Perhaps you were holding yourself to that agreement would have been a better way to state it.

Hmmm...what you said about knowing so many unhappy couples, that's just so sad to me. Most of my friends aren't in the baby phase yet (those of them that will likely go down that path), so it may just be a situation where I haven't gotten to where you are yet---that the unhappiness is just waiting to unfold. But it does sadden my heart to think of that being the inevitable path---and I certainly hope it's not. I'm hoping that your experience in this regard is non-representative, but I have an inkling that it may be the reality far more often than I'd like to acknowledge. I just wonder how much of the unhappiness is truly a result of the relationship or just life circumstances. If it really is the relationship and they regret getting married or having kids, that does seem like an everyday tragedy to me.

In my circle there are only two that have entered the kid arena yet -- my older brother and the friend exception from above that was married at 26. The older brother has 4 kids and the friend just welcomed their first about a year ago. They're definitely concerned about money, but who isn't these days? But other than that, they seem pretty content, at least from the outside, and I hope that's true on the inside as well.

I just wonder how many people have a hard time accepting the passage of time and life's difficulties and project that onto their relationships. Like their relationships are supposed to somehow shield them from the ravages of time, which is impossible. So they seek out something seemingly easier and divorce, just to find out that it's hard on the other side of the fence as well, just in a different way.

It reminds me of this one article I read a while back about the benefits of marriage (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/25738960/ns/today-re... And it really articulated well a lot of the benefits that I think people lose sight of and look to others for validation and relief, when it's often things that can only be found inside oneself.

And I really enjoy you too, Veronica. Our discussions are some of the best!


Golfgal profile image

Golfgal 5 years ago from McKinney, Texas

Excellently done. The book, "He's NOT that Into You" strikes a cord. I read it over and over. It is so true. When a man is into you, he will persue you. period. end of story. If he is not into you, why on earth would you want to keep him. Throw him back and keep fishing.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

I agree completely, Golfgal. Thanks!


Viv 5 years ago

Hey Veronica – I just stumbled across your page, and really liked what you had to say, so I’m gonna try to be totally honest with you (and myself) about my situation and see what you think, (if you’d be so gracious).

I’ve been dating a guy for a year and 10 months. We live in towns about an hour and a half apart. He has a career he loves with a modest paycheck, I’m a grad student with a decent assistantship. Destitute, we are not – but we aren’t exactly rolling in it, either. We see each other most weekends. 90% of the driving falls to me, since I have a car and he doesn’t. It’s true “what grown-up doesn’t have a car nowadays” – but honestly, he lives right next to work, downtown, groceries, etc. and like I said, he doesn’t have a lot of money (he came to the States for grad school 9 years ago with nothing but a bag of clothes and books – and everything he has, he’s earned – I on the other hand drive the old car my parents gave me as a college graduation present). The distance has been increasingly hard, especially for me. For a while, we had a few fights about how often he calls (our only contact during the week) but that has been resolved, and now he calls daily and sounds eager to hear from me.

Now that scheduling for the fall semester has started, I’m looking at a 3rd year of commuting on the weekends so that we can be together. I brought this up with him the other day on the phone, and said, “I don’t know how we’re gonna do this another year.” I’ve told him before that the commuting is hard for me – that I feel like I have two lives –weekday work life and weekend social life (most of my friends live in his town, my hometown). His response to my current qualms is “We’ve got this! We’ll be fine! Chin up! It won’t be like this forever!” When I asked him “When is it going to stop being like this?” he said, “You’ll finish school and we’ll be together… well, if you’ll have me. But I want to be with you.”

Though I believe him when he says that this is the best relationship of his life, I don’t really know how much he thinks about marriage. Recently he said “You know how we’re always talking about having kids? Well, I’m serious.” I told him I was too, and we talked about it for a while, deciding that we should have them in the next 2-4 years. I still have healthy childbearing years left, but he is in his early 40s (never married, no previous kids) and we want him to be young enough and healthy for them.

I know that he loves me, that he never wants to leave me, that his life changed dramatically when I came into the picture – and yet, he still seems quite content to just truck on for another year in different towns, no problem, just see each other on the weekends, and marriage talk never gets more concrete than “we’ll be making plans soon.” I don’t put any pressure on him because I see no point in badgering someone into wedlock, though I have made it clear that time is of the essence if we want kids and he knows and respects my family, and knows that wedding ALWAYS comes before baby in their book (and in mine, for that matter).

Ok, it’s obscenely long. My apologies. But… advice, please?


optimus grimlock profile image

optimus grimlock 5 years ago

hmmmmm viv could be the other woman, hope not but you never know! Interesting article I think some guys are just happy bein in a relationship and they don'y need marriage but they let the woman think they do missleading but some guys are like that!


Cheri123 profile image

Cheri123 5 years ago from Michigan

We have to not only read the signs, but we also have to know what we truly want out of a relationship instead of settling for what someone else is willing to give. Why do we lower our standards to fit into what they are willing to give, instead of what we really want? Either he wants to marry or he doesn't. When clearly the actions shows that he doesn't, then we must be willing to move on...or else we'll always continue to settle and men will always get away with misleading us into thinking that maybe one day they will marry us, when in actuality they won't. While I know it's easier said then done....believe me I have been there....but ultimately it has to done, because it will save us a lot of pain, heartbreak, and hurt in the future when we come to realize that they will never do it, (especially if we choose to settle). I don't want to force a person into being with me, but it's like the old saying "If you love someone you set them free and if they come back it's meant to be." We have to set these men free and if they choose not to come back then we move on to the next. Who wants to spend the rest of their life in marriage with someone who feels like they were forced into it? I say don't force it. Move on to someone who really loves you and is willing to make that commitment. If we all did this, there would probably be a lot less divorces, and more happily married couples. If we don't, we're all going to end up as slaves to singlehood and wasting away our lives in the land of "wishful thinking" as we continue to hope and wish that our partners will one day commit. Or worse...we brow beat him into marriage and he acts like he did us a favor and goes around thinking he's God's gift to the world. I think my grandmother was right....she used to say, "Honey why in the world is he going to buy the milk if you keep on giving him the cow."


Teresa 5 years ago

Veronica, just found your pages. Your advice thrills me as you speak my own thoughts on these things. Even to the point where I came here because I was seeking advice, when I already knew I was looking to be told. Le sigh.

My best friend in the whole freakin' world is the man I live with (2 years now) and have been dating for four. We have a lot of fun together, and support each other, and we communicate to the nth degree. Yet the underlying issue here is that I feel I'm driving this relationship alone. He's so busy daydreaming about his own goals - (he's an outdoors adventurer) - which I have always, from day one, supported and encouraged, but for him, it's as if there isn't room for his own adventures and the marriage-and-family plan with me. I think we can easily do both, but the latter is something which scared him. I know that. He knows that. We talk about it. (A lot). We're both sick of talking about it, in fact. Because we get nowhere with it.

As far as the future goes, he's agreed to move back to my home country with me when the day comes. It's a big step, I know. But the plans he makes for when that happens are plans for more of his own goals (marathons, treks etc). For me, I'm the one thinking about where we'll live, when we might marry, when we might think about having kids. I'm 30 next year, he was 30 last year. I don't want to leave things too long. At the same time I hate that I need to get the ball rolling on that too - I never even cared about marriage and babies this much. It was only once I realised he might not want them that I started to cling to them like they were all I had. Sometimes I hate what I've become.

But I can't deny that this is what I want. And I don't want to push someone into wanting that. He says he thinks he will want them "one day" but he can't say when (and I certainly don't expect him to know, if he doesn't know now!) and I am not sure if I'd be foolish to stick around and find out. It's a pretty big gamble if you ask me.

On paper it seems so simple: we should call it a day, shake hands, off we go. But in real life it's always more complicated than that. Almost 2 years ago I knew I wanted to marry this man, that we would support and look after each other and communicate, encourage each other and have fun. But this one big marriage-and-baby-shaped spanner is proving to be a problem. A big one.

I'm all for dishing out the advice on these things normally, but when it's your own situation everything gets a bit fuggy. Your clarity would be amazing right now.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Cheri -- I agree with a lot of what you have to say, but is that last little bit about the cow supposed to be inverted? I thought traditionally it's supposed to be, "why would he buy the cow if you give him the milk for free". I understand how that works, but not exactly your version -- so I was wondering if it was just a mistake or there was some other meaning that I wasn't quite getting.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Teresa,

My wish for you is that you'll realize you want to marry a man that wants to marry you, not one you have to talk into it.

Your boyfriend sounds wonderful, making plans to fulfill his goals, having strong interests and dreams to pursue. Marriage and children are not for everyone. His decision not to want them, at least not in the near future, is perfectly valid and completely in line with his goals and dreams. This constant talk you say you're sick of, that you instigate, trying to get him to want what you want when you want it, is not as you said "supporting" his goals and dreams. You say this is complicated. It's not from here. One thing I can guarantee you is if have to force someone into wanting to marry you and have kids when clearly they have other plans, you're going to ruin at least a couple of lives.


Cheri123 profile image

Cheri123 5 years ago from Michigan

Lindsey, LOL you have to have known my grandmother....she was always saying quotes but putting her own twist to it. Like the one that says "If the shoe doesn't fit don't wear it" or "Those are big shoes to fill" and she'd say "If the shoes are too big, don't try to fill them" or "Don't try to put your feet in shoes that are too small"...and then she'd say "You know what I'm trying to say"


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Cheri -- oh, gotcha. My Dad was the master of screwing up or mixing the metaphors. My favorite was "It's like falling off a log, once you learn how, you never forget", which of course was a combination of "it's as easy as falling off a log" and "it's like riding a bike, once you learn, you never forget". When the inevitable confused faces showed up, he'd also quickly followed it up with "you know what I mean..."

The movie The Boondock Saints actually has a bartender character in it that does this all the time -- it's hilarious!


thedutchman profile image

thedutchman 5 years ago

This hub is cool. Keep it up.


Teresa 5 years ago

Veronica, thanks for telling me what I knew I needed to hear. We sat down last night and talked it over pragmatically and have decided to part aways before we ruin each other's lives, struggling with opposing goals. We love each other too much to let that happen. (That's some real Alanis irony right there... dontcha think?) Anyway, I'm a wreck right now (so is he) and I woke up this morning feeling like the ground had given way beneath me. But I have to look forward and keep reminding myself that this is short term unhappiness to invest in long term happiness for both of us.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Teresa -- best of luck to you! It is sooo incredibly hard to be in your situation, where you both love each other but want different things in life. Good for you for being able to be so emotionally honest with each other. Keep your chin up, girl!


sairakhan profile image

sairakhan 5 years ago from Bombay , India

i like your hub too much and i started following you.


Viv 5 years ago

Hey, no... I'm definitely not worried about there being anyone else. I guess I just worry that he could go on like this for years and years and nothing woralluld ever change. But we talked some more about kids this weekend. I asked if he ever worries about being too old for kids. He said not really, that most of his family lives to their 80s and 90s, so....

I told him again today as I was leaving to go back to my town that I just don't know if I can do another year like this. He just held me and said, "Please don't be so sad, Viv, you're breaking my heart." and said, "Let's just worry about finishing this (school) year up, and then we can put our heads together and think of something."

I suppose it sounds promising in a way, but I could just see him saying that again and again. I don't know if it's his character or just my insecurity, but I could see summer coming, and him putting it off again because of x or y or z, and then when that's done there will just be another reason. I guess if I look at it historically, he's sort of done that once before, I don't know. In Jan, he was drunk after his team had won a big game and he asked me "would" I marry him? The next day, I confronted him about it, said please just don't talk about that kind of thing when you're drunk. He was confused (having only a vague memory of most of it) and felt really bad when I got upset and said "Look, we're gonna sort out this job thing (at the time, budget cuts were looming at his work) and this visa thing (he was waiting to hear back from his visa application), and then we can start making plans." The budget cuts aren't as bad as predicted, and his job now seems safe, and he got his visa, so he's good for the next few years. But otherwise, nothing has changed. I mean, i don't see him any closer to proposing now than he was a few months ago. He doesn't even talk about marriage much. He talks about "us" and he talks about "kids." Which, I mean, that's cool, I don't have a hang up about weddings, it's just, we'd have to be married before I'd be willing to have kids with him.

Anyhoo, I suppose I'm just rambling now, sorry guys. But if anyone has any advice, I'll be checking back from time to time. Maybe I just need to chill and wait it out for a while. But I'm not someone who does that well. I like having a plan (even if that plan changes).


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Viv -- I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this guy isn't going to marry you. He's not putting much work into the relationship -- you're carrying the lion's share. Personally, I'm a big believer in that people do what they really want to do. He's not putting in more effort because you're not requiring him to and he apparently doesn't have enough dignity to initiate it on his own. If you're willing to do 90% of the driving, why should he be bothered to figure something out, right? I hate that mentality generally, but I think there is some wisdom in it and it's especially applicable in your case. People treat you badly because you allow it.

Look to his actions -- what are they telling you? Given what you've said, they tell me that he enjoys your company and he will continue to enjoy it so long as it's not too inconvenient for him. That's all. He gives you lines about things being serious and yada yada yada, but he seems like an incredibly selfish and self-centered guy. There may be a reason he is single -- it definitely doesn't sound like he has many good qualities of a being a partner.

He could have saved money, bought a car and shared some of the commuting load with you. Or figured out a way to take the bus/train. But he hasn't. And when you bring up these concerns, he just essentially says "let's keeping doing things as we are [i.e. you do all the work] and we can figure out something later". He's not offering any real solutions.

Step away from this guy. If he really loves you, he'll step up and take measures to bridge the gap. If he doesn't, then he won't. Given what you've said so far, I'm imagining that he won't step up. So unless you want to be with a selfish man (why would you want to marry such a guy anyway?) where you're doing 90% of the work forever, I'd dump him and look for someone that's willing to meet you half way. Someone that wants to be there for you, someone that wants to be a partner. At this point, this is a guy that won't be there when you need him because he'll always be looking after himself first.


ManuPria profile image

ManuPria 5 years ago from India

Nice topic and great discussions! Keep going..

Well, if he has had true love for you, then he must have married you by now... paying the loans, bla bla bla are lame excuses!


Helena29 5 years ago

Dear Veronica,

I just discovered hubpages and your site. I admire the clarity and insight of your responses, and hope you could please take a few moments and advise me on a similar topic. (Warning: long note ahead!)

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 5 years - mostly long-distance (across continents). I love him very much. I also long to move our relationship forward, live in the same city, get married, and have children. He tells me that I am it for him, that he only has room in his heart for one great love - me. When talking about the future, he has always included me in his plans. However, he is very focused on his career right now. How can I balance being supportive of him and his career goals, with my desire for close companionship, marriage, etc? What to do?

As background: We met as expats working in South America, quickly became good friends, and 4 months later began dating. I soon moved back to the US with my job, and he stayed on for another almost 2 years. We would see each other every 2-3 weeks, usually with him flying back to spend time with me. His next job assignment has taken him to Asia. He has been there for 3 years (with 1-2 more years left to go.) He is working in a start-up company, which translates into working very long hours and full weekends.

He is very kind, caring, gentlemanly with me, and the world. He has a huge heart and is very responsible (to the extent that he supports his divorced parents and grown sister, none of whom have steady jobs). Both when we first started dating, and continuing through now, 5 years later, despite the distance we connect every day. (Because of his more robust phone plan, this means he calls me every night, my nighttime, and we have 20-30 minutes to catch up, talk about our day, anything. And the weekends!!) I care so so much for him, and feel that he does for me as well. But, I also feel like the long distance is killing me. I have a great job, strong friendships, a close-knit family, and am involved in my community. However, I would be willing (and excited) to pack up and move to be with him, to have our adventure together. I have lived abroad in the past, am resourceful, and am sure that I could find many wonderful opportunities to work or volunteer my time. He does not think this is a good idea (the location is not especially safe, and he works very long hours.) My mind understands this, but my heart yearns to be with him, and to start living a "normal", day-to-day in same proximity relationship with him. The long distance is very difficult, and I have trouble feeling like my heart is constantly on 2 continents.

Actually, my feelings of being ready to move things forward began right after he moved to Asia. Throughout his interview process, I was very supportive of, and excited for him and the opportunity. However, after he left, I realized how strongly I felt about him, and really just felt like I was ready to be in a more serious relationship heading for marriage.

I miss him very much, and I miss the support of a present partner. Yet, I know he is very focused on this career opportunity. When we started dating, he was the one talking about marriage, children, our future. Since his move to Asia, that has taken a backseat to his career. If the company is successful (it is starting to do very well now), I know he values this opportunity as a real way to not worry about how he will provide for his current family, and his future family (his words). I know this is a lot of responsibility for him, yet he never complains. I am so proud of him and how he has taken care of his family. However, at the same time, I am longing for a time for us. I am the only one bringing up talks about our future timeline, when we might live in the same city, when we might get married. But, he never brings up future talks as they relate to living in the same city or getting married (but he does talk about growing old together). In fact, he prefers not to talk about when we will move forward, and says he feels pressured. He says I am the only one for him and that there is absolutely noone else he could imagine growing old with. But for now, until this project ends, he is very focused on the business. (Initially the Asia project was supposed to be 2 years. We just finished year 3. (Some of it due to delays resulting from the recession.) He estimates 1-2 more years, but i know expat assignments have a way of being extended. He does not get fully compensated until the end of the project.)

In November, I asked him how he would feel if I moved to be with him, 3 months from then. He said he has his own issues around marriage, and on making sure he can be the best possible person for me, to make sure he is ready to be his best self, and that he needed 6 months to work through his thoughts, which he said had nothing to do about me but more about his own insecurities. It has been 6 months. I didnt want to, but I last week I finally brought up the idea of living together. He was not happy to have the conversation, said he was busy and that we would talk later. When I brought it back up again later, he said he had been thinking about it, that it was very important to him, and that he needed more time. When pressed, he said he envisions we can be in the same place in 1 year from now.

Is this right? Do I wait? On the one hand, I have waited so long... whats another year? I have a happy life here in my community in the US. But ... I want to love him hands-on, to share the same space, for our daily coexistence. This is so difficult, and not ideally how I would do it at all.... I am in my early 30s; he in his late 30s. How long is too long to wait? My US life is wonderful, but I long to be with my partner. I want to continue to be supportive, but my head and my heart are getting confused between supporting his dreams, and following my own (close relationship, marriage, children).

What advice do you have for me?

Thank you so very much for your time and thoughts, in advance. I hope you will have a chance to read my note and to respond.

Kindly,

Helena


Helena29 5 years ago from NJ

Dear Veronica,

I just discovered hubpages and your site (and as a result, signed up!). I admire the clarity and insight of your responses, and hope you could please take a few moments and advise me on a similar topic. (Warning: long note ahead)

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 5 years - mostly long-distance (across continents). I love him very much. I also long to move our relationship forward, live in the same city, get married, and have children. He tells me that I am it for him, that he only has room in his heart for one great love - me. When talking about the future, he has always included me in his plans. However, he is very focused on his career right now, and talks of the future in far-away terms of years and decades, vs. months or year. How can I balance being supportive of him and his career goals, with my desire for soon, close-proximity companionship, marriage, etc? What to do?

As background: We met as expats working in South America, quickly became good friends, and 4 months later began dating. I soon moved back to the US with my job, and he stayed on for another almost 2 years. We would see each other every 2-3 weeks, usually with him flying back to spend time with me. His next job assignment has taken him to Asia. He has been there for 3 years (with 1-2 more years left to go.) He is working in a start-up company, which translates into working very long hours and full weekends.

He is very kind, caring, gentlemanly with me, and with the world. He has a huge heart and is very responsible (to the extent that he supports his divorced parents and grown sister, none of whom have steady jobs). Both when we first started dating, and continuing through now, 5 years later, despite the distance we connect every day. (Because of his more robust phone plan, this means he calls me every night, my nighttime, and we have 20-30 minutes to catch up, talk about our day, anything. And the weekends!!) I care so so much for him, and feel that he does for me as well. We can, and do, talk about everything. He is smart, handsome, his genuine smile is like a sunshine to me; his embrace makes me feel so loved and safe.

But, I also feel like the long distance is killing me. I have a great job, strong friendships, a close-knit family, and am involved in my community. However, I would be willing (and excited) to pack up and move to be with him, to have our adventure together. I have lived abroad in the past, am resourceful, and am sure that I could find many wonderful opportunities to work or volunteer my time. He does not think this is a good idea (the location is not especially safe, and he works very long hours.) My mind understands this, but my heart yearns to be with him, and to start living a "normal", day-to-day in same proximity relationship with him. The long distance is very difficult, and I have trouble with feeling like my heart is constantly on 2 continents.

Actually, my feelings of being ready to move things forward began right after he moved to Asia. Throughout his interview process, I was very supportive of, and excited for him and the opportunity. However, after he left, I realized how strongly I felt about him, and really just felt like I was ready to be in a more serious relationship heading for marriage in a more near-term.

I miss him very much, and I miss the support of a present partner. Yet, I know he is very focused on this career opportunity. When we started dating, he was the one talking about marriage, children, our future. Since his move to Asia, this talk has taken a backseat to his career. If the company is successful (it is starting to do very well now), I know he values this opportunity as a real way to not worry about how he will provide for his current family, and his future family (his words). I know this is a lot of responsibility for him, yet he never complains. I am so proud of him and how he has taken care of his family. However, at the same time, I am longing for a time for us. I am the only one bringing up talks about our future timeline, when we might live in the same city, when we might get married. But, now he never brings up future talks as they relate to living in the same city or getting married (but he does talk about growing old together). In fact, he prefers not to talk about when we will move forward, and says he feels pressured. He says I am the only one for him and that there is absolutely noone else he could imagine growing old with. But for now, until this project ends, he is very focused on the business. (As a side note: Initially the Asia project was supposed to be 2 years. We just finished year 3, some of it due to delays resulting from the recession. He estimates 1-2 more years, but I know expat assignments have a way of being extended. He does not get fully compensated until the end of the project.)

In November, I asked him how he would feel if I moved to be with him, 3 months from then (the time for me to get my work projects and paperwork in order). He said he has his own issues around marriage, and on making sure he can be the best possible person for me, to make sure he is ready to be his best self, and that he needed 6 months to work through his thoughts, which he said had nothing to do about me but more about his own insecurities. It has been 6 months. I didn't want to, but I last week I again brought up the idea of living together. He was not happy to have the conversation, said he was busy and that we would talk later. When I brought it back up again later, he said that yes, he had been thinking about it, that it was very important to him, and that he needed more time. When pressed, he said he envisions we can be in the same place in 1 year from now.

Is this right? Do I wait? On the one hand, I have waited so long... what's another year? I have a happy life here with my family, friends, in my community in the US. But ... I want to love him hands-on, to share the same space, for daily coexistence and hugs. This is so difficult, and not ideally how I would do it at all.... I am in my early 30s; he in his late 30s. How long is too long to wait? My US life is wonderful, but I long to be with my partner. I sometimes feel this is unfair to me, to what I want, and to us; that if we really wanted to be together, we could find a way. I want to continue to be supportive, but my head and my heart are getting confused between supporting his dreams, and following my own (marriage, children).

What advice do you have for me?

Thank you so very much for your time and thoughts in advance, Veronica. I hope you will have a chance to read my note and to respond.

Kindly,

Helena


bryanbaldwin profile image

bryanbaldwin 4 years ago from Los Angeles

You really pour a lot of passion into your hubs. Thank you for not skimping the reader!!

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